Saturday, December 30, 2006

Digging to America

I finally got a chance to read an Anne Tyler book. I just started Digging to America. I am not quite finished but so far this is a very interesting book about two families adopting children from Asia. You would think this is a book about raising these children in America but it is not primarily about that. It is about the interaction between the two adopting families. One family is white American and the other is a younger Iranian American family. It is all about family interaction and being seen as foreign and exotic in America even when one is American born.

The white American mother, Bitsy, has these very specific ideas about raising children and wants the Iranian American mother, Ziba, to follow suit. She is shocked for example that Ziba wanted to be a working mother. Also, Bitsy sets a pattern with an Arrival Party for the baby girls and Ziba feels obliged to continue the practice the following year. Their lives become so intertwined that the Iranian American family moves into Bitsy's neighborhood and Bitsy's widowed father starts dating Maryam, the Iranian born paternal grandmother.

Tyler has a very good understanding of what it means to be foreign, to be an outsider and apparently has a very excellect idea of what it means to be Iranian. She obviously knows about Iranian foods, customs, and the Farsi language.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

New Year Resolution: Do Just One Thing

Many people are at this moment thinking about making changes in their lives. They are getting ready to write down their new year's resolutions. I am a bit of a pack rat. I accumulate magazines then periodically I purge by taking them to the nearest recycling bin at the supermarket parking area. However, I held on to my Prevention magazine from 2001 that suggested that readers focus on doing just one thing.

If you want to save money next year, do just one thing. How about borrowing more books, DVDs, videos from the library and reducing some of your entertainment budget. Don't complain about how expensive it is to go out.

If you want to make new friends next year, join a book club or a gym or take a continuing education class at the college nearest to your home or work. Don't complain about being lonely.

If you want to get rid of clutter, start purging. Don't complain about the mess you live in.

Focus on one resolution this year or try twelve; one for each month. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Library Love Connection

Moving along from news in Africa is this bit of news from Australia. What a unique icebreaker to get conversation going among book lovers who are meeting for the first time. This is really an interesting speed dating concept.

Link here to read more Those who make a long term love connection can tell their friends, children and grandchildren, "I met the love of my life in a 150 year old public library in Melbourne."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Timbuktu's hidden libraries

This fact is interesting: In Timbuktu, ancient texts covering all the fields of knowledge, have been found under mud homes and in desert caves proving that Africa had a written history possibly as early as the 13th century. READ MORE.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

100 Notable Books of the Year

The Waycross College Library has some of the most notable books of the year. According to The New York Times Book Review dated December 3, 2006, the following books are among the “100 Notable Books of the Year.”

Digging to America by Anne Tyler

Jane Goodall by Dale Peterson

The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messud

Mayflower by Nathaniel Philbrick

The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson

Queen of Fashion by Caroline Weber

The Great Deluge by Douglas Brinkley

Strange Piece of Paradise by Terri Jentz

Monday, December 11, 2006

Teacher Man Now In Paperback

In the latest edition of Book Page, an article by Julie Hale recommends the following for reading groups:

Frank Mc Court's third memoir, Teacher Man, which is now available in paperback.

Look out also for this paperback,The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster. If this becomes a book club selection we have a reader's guide available at

Also in the November edition of Book Page, Tasha Alexander's debut novel And Only Deceive, is recommended reading for book clubs. A reader's guide is on

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Notable Books of the Year

In The New York Times Book Review dated December 3, 2006, is a list of 100 notable books of the year. There are some strange titles on the list.

Take this one by Charles D'Ambrosio titled The Dead Fish Museum.

Anne Tyler's Digging to America is on the list.

The Discomfort Zone by Jonathan Franzen is another interesting title. And how about this title, Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about sisters in the midst of the Biafran War.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Top Five Bestselling Books

Bestsellers on USA Today
1. Cross
James Patterson, Little, Brown
Thriller: Alex Cross hunts his wife's killer

2. For One More Day
Mitch Albom, Hyperion
Troubled man spends a day with his dead mother

3. Dear John
Nicholas Sparks, Warner
Love, duty in the aftermath of September 11

4. The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town
John Grisham, Doubleday
Story of a man wrongly sent to death row

5. You: On A Diet
Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz, Free Press
Subtitle: "The Owner's Manual for Waist Management"

Friday, December 01, 2006

Festival of Trees at the Public Library

No book club meeting this month but find some time to see the Festival of Trees open to the public tomorrow at the public library on Lee Avenue. They are absolutely wonderful. In the spirit of the season, each tree will be donated to a needy family when the Festival ends on December 16.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


At this time of year we all tend to focus on food, the publishers seem to put out more cookbooks, and magazines and newpapers feature them. Here are some cookbooks highlighted in People Extra for December 2006:

Express Lane Meals by Rachel Ray.

Morgan Freeman and Friends: Caribbean Cooking For A Cause by Wendy Wilkinson et al.

Paula Deen Celebrates by Paula Deen et al.

Skinny Cooks Can't Be Trusted by Mo'Nique et al.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Obama's Book Buzz

Apparently Barack Obama's lastest book, The Audacity of Hope, was a surprise bestseller. It shot to the number one spot on the New York Times bestselling nonfiction list ahead of John Grisham's latest nonfiction titled Innocent Man. Obama reportedly turned up at a book signing event at a book store in Arizona and signed more that 1,400 books. The buzz is that this book by a politician has done so well and it is not even a tell-all memoir. In fact, we discussed his memoir, where he writes about his childhood years in Hawaii through to his first visit to Africa, many many months ago in this book club.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Discover the greatest science books

Discover Magazine presents a reading list of 25 science books considered to be the greatest of all time. Read more. On the list is this strange title,The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks published in 1985. This book is said to be an inspiration to neuroscientists.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Fighting Illiteracy "For One More Day"

Did you know that Starbucks and Mitch Albom are assisting Jumpstart in a very practical way? Jumpstart is a national progam designed to encourage literacy.

Read an Excerpt of New York Times bestselling book, For One More Day by Mitch.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Dear John and Long Night of Winchell Dear

These two books were featured in USAToday on November 16, 2006. Link to the excerpt of Long Night of Winchell Dear.

Also, Sue Monk Kidd author of Mermaid Chair has another book out titled, Firstlight.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Meet Joshilyn Jackson

If you like Gods in Alabama like I did, then you may want to meet the writer. Link here for her schedule.

You may even want to read her second book titled, Between, Georgia.

Gods in Alabama is our book selection for January 2007.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Alabama Gods, Lies, and Secrets

I actually finished reading the book for January, Gods in Alabama. This story is about lies, secrets and guilt. It is also about being Southern, being Baptist and being an obsessive teenager with a dysfunctional mother. It is the story of Arlene Fleet, also known as Lena, from a small town in Alabama. Just as Karen said, the tone is humorous and you will laugh out loud sometimes. This is why she suggested this book for our book discussion.

On the first page Arlene revealed that she had made a deal with God. God had fulfilled his part and performed a miracle and she had fulfilled her promises to God for 10 years. One visit from a former school mate Rose Mae Lolley was enough to blow the deal.

The plot revolves around the answers to these obvious questions: What miracle? What promises? And who is Rose Mae Lolley?

Arlene is the wanna-be good Southern Baptist burdened with sin and guilt but she is also foul-mouthed and insecure. The language will be offensive to some and the ending is not quite what I was expecting but I enjoyed the storyline and the humor in the story. I could not put this book down.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Okefenokee Book Club Selections 2006

Wow we chose a variety of books this year! We even included two children's books.

January 20
The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

February 17
All over but the shoutin’ by Rick Bragg

March 17
Zorro by Isabel Allende

April 21
Blind Obedience by Bill Boyd


The Thing About Jane Spring by Sharon Krum

June 16
Death of a Dreamer by M. C. Beaton

July 21
Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

August 18
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

September 15
Reflections in the Nile by J. Suzanne Frank

October 20
Traitor’s Gate by Anne Perry

November 17
And I Alone Survived by Lauren Elder

Gods in Alabama is our first selection for January.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Book Club Companion

This was an interesting interview on with the author of The Book Club Companion, Diane Loevy. From the interview I see that an Anne Tyler book is one that falls into the category of "must read". Next year we will have to add one of her books to our list.

Friday will be our last book club meeting for the year. We are reading And I Alone Survived by Lauren Elder.

Friday, November 10, 2006

YouTube Book Promo

Link to YouTube video to see the book promo of The Mystery Guest by French writer Gregoire Bouillier.

Also, link to the interview with the translator on the Maud Newton blog.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Respond to the writer

If you have any questions for Gene Stowe or want any more information about Inherit the Land link here

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Trends: Coffee and Books; Writers and Video

Coffee and books; writers and video is about using the new technology to sell books. Have you read that the Starbucks name for example will soon be associated with coffee and books. It's started with Seattle-based Starbucks Also, writers are selling their books using online video such as Take a look at the video about Bill Bryson's new book: Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid.

Friday, November 03, 2006

What are you reading now?

I just finished reading The Husband by Dean Koontz. It's been ages since I read a Koontz book. This was not one of those weird supernatural type fiction books typcial of a Koontz book. However, like most of his books that I have read this one deals with evil.

I loved this story and it held my interest throughout. The protagonist, Mitchell Rafferty, ia a naive, mild mannered man described as a born optimist despite his weird parents and their unorthodox parenting practices. He has a small landscaping business and is totally dedicated to his wife. His wife has been kidnapped and the kidnappers are demanding $2,000,000.00. He is shocked. He is not a wealthy man and he has no idea how to access that kind of money. To prove that they are serious, while he is talking to one of the kidnappers, he is told to look at what appears to be an innocent stranger walking his dog. The man is murdered in cold blood.

The kidnappers seem to know that Rafferty is a very meek and mild type of person but they did not anticipate that this was a man who would do anything to rescue his beloved wife.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Queen of Persia and other selections

Here are our reading selections for 2007:

January: Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson

February: Atchafalaya Houseboat :My years in the Louisianna Swamp by Gwen Roland, C.C. Lockwood

March: Hadassah: One Night With the King by Tommy Tenney, Mark Andrew Olsen

The book in March is based on the biblical queen Esther. One amazon reader titled her review of the book as, "The Bachelorette: Queen of Persia". The movie version is showing right now at the cinema in the mall.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Lolita in Teheran Controversy

Remember we read and discussed the book, Reading Lolita in Teheran by Azar Nafisi several months ago? There are articles in The Chronicle of Higher Learning criticizing this book.

Hamid Dabashi in Peeking Under The Cover, criticizes the cover of the book. He says that the image of the two women on the cover sugggests that they were reading Lolita when in reality the image was croppped from a news photo and they were reading a reformist newspaper. Ms Nafisi points out that authors do not choose the final cover of their books.

Dabashi has more issues in A Collision of Prose and Politics by Richard Byrne also in The Chronicle.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Spooky Books On Display

Here are some "Chilling Reads" on display at the Waycross College Library:

Possessed by ghosts:exorcisms in the 21st century by Wanda Pratnicka

Real ghosts, restless spirits, and haunted places by Brad Steiger

Tale of the body thief by Anne Rice

Vampire book: the encyclopedia of the undead by J. Gordon Melton

Vampires, werewolves, and demons: twentieth century reports in the psychiatric literature edited by Richard Noll

Telltale lilac bush, and other West Virginia ghost tales by Ruth Ann Musick

Monday, October 23, 2006

Jim Crow Meets Miss Maggie's Will

This looks like a book worth reading, Inherit The Land: Jim Crow Meets Miss Maggie's Will by Gene Stowe. The setting is North Carolina in the early twentieth century. Two really wealthy white sisters wrote wills leaving their estate to a black man, Bob Ross, and his daughter.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Free Speech issues

The winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature went to a fifty-four year old Turkish writer, Orhan Pamuk. He was yet another writer accused of "insulting Turkishness" raising debate on free speech in Turkey. Read More.

Look on for books written by this now controversial winner.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Man Booker Prize

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a prestigious award coveted by fiction writers. Take a look at the list of previous winners. Link here.

Thirty five year old Kiran Desai, author of The Inheritance of Loss, is the winner for 2006. See the list of candidates for this award here.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Innocent Man: John Grisham

Grisham's nineteenth book, a non-fiction book, is now being promoted: Innocent Man.

According to what I have read, Grisham has been researching and writing for 18 months accumulating a stack of primary documents which tell the story of Ron Williamson. He was a ballplayer who was on death row for 11 years paying for the crimes of rape and murder which he did not commit. Apparently, Grisham read Williamson's obituary and was inspired to write this book which may end up another bestseller. Read MORE. Also link to THIS.

The House Next Door

Just in time for halloween, the tv version of The House Next Door by Anne Rivers Siddons. Watch it on Monday, October 30 at 9:00PM on Lifetime Channel. Was it last year that we read and discussed that book? It was strange and unpredictable and we loved it.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Traitor's Gate by Anne Perry

We meet on the third Friday of the month to discuss this book.

This was a story set in nineteenth century England. I did not start enjoying it until I had read more than 200 pages. As is hinted in the title, it is about loyalty as well as the opposing forces: betrayal and perversion of power. The story deals with loyalty to the Inner Circle, a secret society of men who intend to gain wealth for themselves through Ceil Rhodes' settlement of Africa. It deals with loyalty between men and their women, and loyalty to England.

In the story three things are going on. Superintendent Pitt is investigating the murder of the father of his childhood friend. The murder is made to look like accidental death or suicide. Secondly, Pitt has to discreetly find out who in the Colonial Office is leaking information about Africa to the Germans. In the midst of these two investigations a second unexpected murder takes place. Pitt is hampered by the class structure of the time. He was not from the upper crust of society yet he has to interrogate and possibly arrest one or more of these high society gentlemen.

We get a clear picture of the Victorian woman in this story. She was to be demure and dependent on her man because of her innate feminine weakness which made her illogical. However, the women in Perry's story seem to be the exception. This is especially so in regard to one of the protagonists Charlotte, wife of Superintendent Pitt, who is portrayed as charming and clever. She uses her charm and clever mind to manipulate Eustace, a minor character, so he could gather pertinent information to solve one of the two murder mysteries in the book.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

USA Today Top Five Bestsellers

According to USA Today, it's Mitch Albom's For One More Day that is the leading bestselling book now. Memory Keeper's Daughter, Mary Mary, Predator, and Culture Warrior round off the list of top five books.

Culture Warrior is by Bill O' Reilly.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Paperback Bestsellers

On the New York Times list of bestselling paperback fiction books is...Morrigan's Cross by Nora Roberts. The bestselling paperback nonfiction is Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs.

One of my favorites is number 2 on the Bestselling Nonfiction list, The Glass Castle. It has been on the list of bestsellers for 36 weeks.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Turkish Novelist Elif Shafak

Link to news on the 34 year old Turkish writer who was acquitted of charges of insulting Turkishness in one of her novels, The Bastard of Istanbul.

According to this article, Elif Shafak is a Turkish citizen, born in France and raised in Spain. She studied political science in Turkey and has held teaching positions in the United Kingdom, Turkey, and the United States.

Friday, September 22, 2006

2006 Selections

This blog is one year old this month. The club has been meeting since 2002. Wow!!!

Now here are our selections for 2006.

January 20
The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

February 17
All over but the shoutin’ by Rick Bragg

March 17
Zorro by Isabel Allende

April 21
Blind Obedience by Bill Boyd


The Thing About Jane Spring by Sharon Krum

June 16
Death of a Dreamer by M. C. Beaton

July 21
Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

August 18
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

September 15
Reflections in the Nile by J. Suzanne Frank

October 20
Traitor’s Gate by Anne Perry

November 17
And I Alone Survived by Lauren Elder

Thursday, September 21, 2006

J. Suzanne Frank time traveling series

Question: When there are four books in the series why is it called a trilogy?

I was looking for the books in the J. Suzanne Frank time traveling trilogy featuring Chloe and Cheftu for those who wanted to read beyond Reflections in the Nile. It turns out that there are four books.

Shadows on the Aegean is the second book set in the period of Joseph's sojourn in Egypt.

Sunrise on the Mediterranean is the third book set during the reign of King David.

Twilight in Babylon is the final installment and the setting is Ur.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Smithsonian article: September issue

Guess who is featured on the cover of this month's issue of the Smithsonian magazine. Hathshepsut! On the cover is the caption, Solving the Mystery of Egypt's Hatshepsut: Why Was Her Reign Erased From History.

Weren't we right on target when we chose Reflections in the Nile for our September discussion?

The title of the article by Elizabeth Wilson is, The Queen who would be King. Senenmut is mentioned in the article as her influential chief minister. There are different views as to whether or not they were lovers or if he were just her favorite minister and confidant.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

October Selection: Traitor's Gate

Read Anne Perry's biography on her official website. She is the writer of Traitor's Gate our selection for next month

Saturday, September 16, 2006

New in the bookstores

Yes it was only a matter of time. This can not be a big surprise... Mrs. Robin McGraw, wife of Dr. Phil McGraw, has written a book. As expected, there are mixed reviews by amazon readers.

The former husband of the infamous Debra Lafave who pleaded guilty to lewd and lascivious battery charges committed on her teenage student, has also written a book aptly titled, Gorgeous Disaster. No surprise here either. Read this interview in Newsweek with Owen LaFave .

Friday, September 15, 2006

Constitution Day, September 17

The Waycross College Library is celebrating Constitution Day all of next week. The attractive display has been set up for public viewing starting Sunday, September 17.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Why did Beulah take a pistol to church?

I just finished reading a book by Clayton Sullivan with the very intriguing title Why Beulah Shot her Pistol Inside the Baptist Church. Beulah's language is conversational and raunchy in parts but it was an interesting story dealing with rural Mississippi life, marriage to an older man, domestic violence, and hypocrisy in the church. It was an easy read; I finished it in a few hours. I wanted to know why Beulah needed to fire a pistol in church so I could not put the book down.

I did not like the constant repetition. Beulah kept saying the same thing 3 or 4 different ways and this way annoying.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Non-stop reading this Fall

Look out for the release of new titles by big named authors between now and Thanksgiving: John Grisham, Stephen King, John le Carré, Michael Crichton, Clive Cussler, Mitch Albom, Isabel Allende, and Janet Evanovich and others.

Remember the family and friends of those who died on this date five years ago.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Here is another selection recommended by Charlotte, Atchafalaya Houseboat: My Years in the Louisiana Swamp by Gwen Roland. Link to the author's interview on NPR here.

Charlotte actually emailed the writer and within minutes got a response. Gwen informed her that she had a story called Basket Case that was just published in Delta Sky Magazine about her learning to make oak baskets at a living history village.

Enjoy the weekend. Don't forget The Mermaid Chair at 9:00PM tonight on Lifetime Channel.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Angels Fall

Charlotte is strongly recommending the book with the interesting title of Angels Fall by Nora Roberts. She loved the storyline.

Explore Ms. Roberts website! View the commercial! Read the excerpt!

Nora has another new book out already, Morrigan's Cross.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

None Without Sin

I got a gift for the club. It is a book titled, None Without Sin, by Nat W. Clerk. I intend to read and pass on to club members. The writer lives in Atlanta.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Quills General Fiction Category

Remember to vote for your favorite books in the Quills General Fiction Category:

Black Swan Green:A Novel David Mitchell

The March: A Novel E. L. Doctorow

A Dirty Job: A Novel Christopher Moore

Suite Française Irene Nemirovsky

Water for Elephants: A Novel Sara Gruen

Friday, September 01, 2006

Quills Biography/Memoir Category

These are the nominees for the Quills award this year in the Biography/Memoir Category.

Dispatches from the Edge: A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival
Anderson Cooper

Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog
John Grogan

Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee Charles J. Shields

The Tender Bar: A Memoir J. R. Moehringer

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Reflections in the Nile

I have not finished reading the book Reflections in the Nile but this is really some deep reflection going on in Ancient Egypt. Chloe is on vacation with her sister in Egypt. She goes on a tour of a temple then decides she is going to hide and take photos from this temple after everyone leaves. Mysteriously she is whisked into a different century into the body of a priestess, RaEmhtepet called Ra Em for short. It is during the reign of Pharaoh Hatshepsut and her nephew Prince Thutmosis 111.

Initially, Chloe loses her ability to speak, gains access to Ra Em's mind in Ra Em's pregnant body and maintains her green eyes. The writer confuses me a bit because later on in the book,it seems Chloe is in her own body but still with Ra Em's skin. Anyway, in this ancient Egyptian world she disovers she is engaged to the obnoxious and crude Nesbek but there is sexual tension between her and Chieftu, Egyptian healer, and personal friend and counselor to the Pharaoh. Chloe suspects that Ra Em has also time traveled and is in her (Chloe's)body creating havoc in twentieth century Egypt.

Prince Thutmosis has some challenges in his role as Pharaoh-in-waiting. He has to deal with RaMoses, renamed Moshe, and his brother Aharon, the very ones we know as the biblical Moses and Aaron. RaMoses is in Egypt to set his people free so that they can worship their God, Elohim. The book really gets interesting after Chloe disappoints Thut and runs off with Chieftu.

I'll keep reading.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Quills Vote

Celebrate excellence in writing and publishing! Look at the highlights of The Quill Awards last year. Click Here. Now vote for your favorite books to receive Quill Awards for 2006 in 19 categories. Connect to the link here up to September 30. is the official voting partner for the Quills this year.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sue Monk Kidd in Jacksonville March 2007

One of our book club members designed this library display showing books that have been made into movies.

This is a follow up to the post on The Mermaid Chair. Sue Monk Kidd is originally from Sylvester, Georgia which is not that far away from Waycross. However, if you want to meet her and engage in a Q&A and Book Signing, plan for a trip to nearby Jacksonville, FLorida on March 8, 2007 at 7:30 PM.

Location: Lazzara Theatre
University of North Florida's Fine Art Center
4567 St. Johns Bluff Road South
Jacksonville, FL 32224

Sponsored by: Friends of the Library
Ponte Vedra Beach, FL

Contact: Vic Digenti 904-285-2258

Don't forget to watch the TV version of The Mermaid Chair on Lifetime Channel September 9 @ 9:00PM.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Our September Selection

We are going to read about Ancient Egypt and a female pharaoh in our next book Reflections in the Nile by J. Suzanne Frank. Here is a link to female pharaohs.

Here is another more current article on about a male pharaoh Ramses 11. Click Here.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

First Look

Avon Books, mentioned yesterday, is part of the Harper Collins family. If you are interested in writing and voting in the Avon Books'Romance contest, make sure to check the link to the rules of the contest.

Harper Collins has a First Look program going on as well. You can register to review books before they are published. Check the website to register and make sure to read the program rules.

See the books on offer this month. Click here. The historical fiction, Abundance a novel of Marie Antoinette by Sena Jeter Naslund is the one that sounds very interesting to me.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Contest for Romance Readers and Writers

Sometimes I think I am going to run out of things to write about and then I'll discover some interesting tidbit that I must share with book club members and other visitors to this site. I learned that Avon Books had an interactive community and was promoting a writing contest for romance readers. A story line will be created by Avon editors, readers will vote, and the winning premise will be announced on Sept 7. The second aspect of the contest is that readers can write chapters based on the premise and Avon editors will review the 10 chapters with the highest fan vote. You have up to October 27 to participate in this unusual contest. The end result will be a collectively written romance e-Book.

Go to to vote and to compete.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Bestseller in Brazil

James C. Hunter was surprised to find out last year that his book, The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership, was a bestseller in Brazil.

His 1998 book had been translated and renamed The Monk and the Executive without his permission. READ MORE

Over a million copies of the book was sold over a two year period. Apparently the Brazilian market is the new trendy market for writers and publishers.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Round and about Waycross, Georgia

Who says there is nothing to do around small town Waycross? If you love reading and would love to help someone else learn to read, go to the literacy tutors meeting on August 28 at 6:00PM at the public library. Call Midge, the Director of the public library, and she will tell you all about becoming a tutor.

Williams Heights Elementary is inviting the Waycross community and near by communities to an author talk on August 29 at 9:00AM. A children's book writer, will be the guest speaker.

The Kiwanis Club of Waycross meets every Friday at noon at Holiday Inn.

Okefenokee Toastmasters meets every Wednesday at 7:00AM at Holiday Inn.

There is also the Okefenokee Book Club which meets at Andrew's Grill every third Friday except in December. Try their grilled grouper, it's really good. Reflections in the Nile by J. Suzanne Frank is the September selection.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Mermaid Chair on Lifetime

We have not discussed the book The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd at the book club but this is a book worth reading. It is a family drama set in Atlanta and an island off the South Carolina coast. The made for TV version will star Kim Basinger on September 9 at 9:00PM on the Lifetime channel.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


Remember Anita Diamant? She was the author of the Red Tent, that book that club members enjoyed so much. She has a book out since September 2005 called The Last Days of Dogtown set in the 1800's in rural Massahusetts.

Read an EXCERPT.

Monday, August 21, 2006

See what we are reading in September!

CLICK HERE to read about our book for September, Reflections in the Nile. It is the first in a time travel trilogy by the writer, J. Suzanne Frank.

J. Suzanne Frank, is a journalist from Texas who has traveled to Egypt.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Book club Meeting Today

We meet at 6:00PM today. See a list of author interviews HERE. Interesting interview on Dan Brown can be found there.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Author Interviews

Link to THIS SITE for interviews with some of your favorite writers. Jhumpa Lahiri, writer of the Namesake is on this list. We selected that book some time ago for discussion. She talks about the tradition of having two names: the good name, used in public, and pet name, used by families. Also, she talks about her pattern of writing from a male perspective.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Jance's Blog

The writer J. A. Jance has a new book on several bestselling lists, including the N.Y. Times. The book is Dead Wrong. Check out Ms. Jance's blog too. I read that a professor of Creative Writing at a certain university discouraged Jance from pursuing courses in his department. The best revenge was probably to become a successful novelist.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Personalized Weblogs

I just finished reading Exclusive by Sandra Brown and went to amazon to see what other readers thought about the story. I came across Sandra Brown's peronalized weblog, also known as a plog.

According to the plog, Sandra Brown's latest books are Chill Factor, recently released in paperback, and Ricochet.

Exclusive reminded me of another novel I read about the Presidency many years ago. In that story, the First Lady was kidnapped by the Russians and a Russian look-a-like was put in the White House as a spy. There was suspense to the very end as readers were not clear whether the right First Lady ended up back in the White House. Does anyone remember the name of that novel?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Top Three Bestsellers

From the list of Bestselling Books seen on USA TODAY this week:

1. Judge & Jury by James Patterson & Andrew Gross

2. The Memory Keeper's Daughter
by Kim Edwards

3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Dear Reader Fiction Selection

Guess which book is on the Dear Reader Book Club Fiction selection this week! It is Joy Fielding's Puppet. SEE MORE about novels wriiten by Joy Fielding.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Books and Mongooses

More vacation pics from the Hope Zoo taken by my cousin M.J. Here is a critter you may not see in a North American zoo. This is a baby mongoose, a weasel looking creature, imported into the Caribbean from India to kill rats way back in the day. (If you click on the second photo you may be able to make out one of the cats sheltering from the sun with the mongoose family). The mongoose turned out to be an annoying pest to farmers, destroying eggs and baby chicks. Here is what I'd like to know, how comes the plural is mongooses and not mongeese?

And now back to books. I just finished reading The Templar Legacy by Steve Berry. I'd give it three stars out of five. There are anagrams and cryptograms to solve. Ancient documents and legends to interpret. There is intrigue in a religious order: greed, deception and a fight for leadership as in The Third Secret. Berry makes the following controversial points: The gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are inconsistent in details; the New Testament is illogical;and the story of the resurrection has contradictions.

If you are a fan of religious thrillers here is another one to add to your reading list The Last Cato by Matilde Asensi, written long before Davinci I understand. I have not read it yet.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Book Club Reminder

Back from vacationing with the flamingoes at Hope Zoo and Botanical Gardens (Jamaica).

Here is what we decided at last month's meeting. We are reading and discussing fiction for the next few months. This month it is Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. Next month our selection will be Reflections in the Nile by J. Suzanne Frank. In October we'll have our new member's selection (Kathy's) Traitor's Gate by Anne Perry. Karen is reading the non-fiction, I Alone Survived. She will give us feedback soon if this one can be added to our reading/discussion list.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Book Club Meeting

We meet again this Friday to discuss the book Bud not Buddy. Next month we will be discussing Angels and Demons by Dan Brown. Reflections in the Nile by J. Suzanne Frank is the book for September.

A special welcome to Kathy who will join us at our meeting this week.

Also, take a peek at what these book club members will be reading. Link HERE.

Going on vacation so things will be a little slow on the blog. We will get back to regular postings in August. Keep reading!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

McGowan's "Expected" controversy

Get ready for the controversy over The Expected One, another religious thriller. This one is by Kathleen McGowan. McGowan allegedly proclaims she is a descendant of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. I mentioned McGowan in another post dated MAY 23, 2006. Is the writer a lunatic,just trying to sell her book or does she have solid evidence to back up her family lineage?

I stated in that post that Dan Brown did not invent this genre of writing but I am sure he will be blamed or praised if McGowan's book becomes a hit. Watch for it!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dear Reader Book Selections

Take a look at Dear Reader's book selections for this week. Link HERE and join a book reading club of your choice.

Arizona Dreams by Jon Talton sounds interesting. It will be available in September.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Whitbread Book Award 2005

Read about the Malaysian writer, Mr. Tash Aw. Last year in the First Novel category Aw's novel, The Harmony Silk Factory, won the Whitbread Book Award, now known as the Costa Awards.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

National Book Critics Circle 2005

See a list of the nominees for the National Book Critics Circle Awards. You may find something you want to add to your personal reading list.

Fat Girl by Judith Moore is among the nominees. READ AN EXCERPT.

Them: A Memoir of Parents by Francine du Plessix Gray is another nominee in the Autobiography category.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Friday, July 14, 2006

Agatha Raisin series

Just finished reading another book by M. C. Beaton from the Agatha Raisin series set in a small village in England. Beaton is good with describing her characters. I like Agatha because she is a very realistic character. She obsesses and gripes about getting old, fat and arthritic and with being single. She is not perfect. She gets jealous and irritable. She drinks and smokes too much. She likes to be in the limelight almost publicity hungry where her detective agency is concerned. She is an amateur in the detective business. In the Perfect Paragon she employs amateurs in her detective agency. She and her staff basically use intuition and persistence to solve the murder cases. The tone of the stories is usually light and humorous.

Look out for the next issue in the series: Love, Lies and Liquor

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Devil in Fashion

Lauren Weisberger's first novel, The Devil Wears Prada is the number one book on the USA Today bestselling list. READ AN EXCERPT from Random House's site.

It's a big hit in the movie theaters too but what a negative message! The message I got, from the movie, is that you have to be mean spirited to be a successful business woman, that the fashion world is ruthless, that you can't be a success in business and be a successful wife. Entertaining movie though with first class acting.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Star Future

So with all this controversy with Star Jones Reynolds versus Barbara Walters and the network, will there be an increased demand for Star's book, Shine : A Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Journey to Finding Love? Link Here.

Will she write another book about life after the View? Does she have a future in television? Real life is life a soap opera for some folks, isn't it?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Reading Group Selections

Link to readinggroupchoices to see the profiles of three books: The Memory Keeper's Daughter, The Lost Mother, and the psychological thriller Eye Contact

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Hot off the Press

Take a look at this new book, Venus Fix,by M. J. Rose featured on Author Buzz. Link here to read a letter from this author. Her novel is about the very relevant topic of teen boys addicted to internet porn.

Triangle by Katharine Weber also looks interesting. For more about this writer, click here.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

WPL's Book Club Selections

I was looking at the Waterloo Public Library's homepage and came across the link to their book club blog. Waterloo is in Ontario, Canada. Take a look at their book selections for 2006. LINK HERE for the complete list.

These are their choices for the summer:

June 12 - Book of the Year, Saskatchewan Book Awards: Russlander by Sandra Birdsell
July 10 - Pullitzer Prize 1992: Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman
August 14 - First Aboriginal Book of the Year: Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Old Flames and New Books

Link to for a review of the book, THE MEN I DIDN'T MARRY by Lynn Schnurnberger and Janice Kaplan. These ladies have also written bestsellers Mine Are Spectacular! and The Botox Diaries. Janice and Lynn have been speaking about opportunites open to women over forty at events all over the country. Their presentations are described as uplifting and humorous.

Writing about old flames is a popular theme in books these days. Remember My Boyfriend's Back: True Stories of Rediscovering love with a Long Lost Sweetheart by Donna Hanover, formerly known as Mrs. Rudy Guiliani?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Previous book club selections

People ask me from time to time about our past book discussions. Click on September 2005 in Archives and take a look at the posts for September 13, 2005 and September 15, 2005. You will see lists of our selections for 2002 -2005. Hard to imagine we have been meeting since 2002.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Another Magdalen book

I came across this review of a book titled, The Passion of Mary Magdalen: A Novel by an Interfaith Minister, Elizabeth Cunningham. This book is to be the first of a planned trilogy called The Maeve Chronicles. READ MORE The cover alone suggests this is going to be a controversial book.

Who is Elizabeth Cunningham? LINK HERE. Her first published novel was titled, The Return of the Goddess, a divine comedy

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Paperback Best Sellers

In the New York Times Book Review I see that Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond has been on the Paperback Best Sellers list for all of 191 weeks. Angels and Demons has been on the list for 142 weeks.

New on the Paperback Best Sellers list (one week) are People Who Are Screwing Up America by Bernard Goldberg, Lost Lake by Phillip Margolin, and Black Wind by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler.

Monday, June 26, 2006

"Not-Quite-Write" Writers' Meeting

The Not-Quite-Write Scribblers (love that name) will meet tomorrow at 6:00PM at the Johnston Lakes Library, in Lake Park, Ga. to share scribblings and learn techniques in editing manuscripts,and publishing.

Life is but a dream ... or nightmare

Row row row your boat was one of the songs my Uncle Eric taught me as a child. Interesting lyrics for a child to learn:"Life is but a dream". Today's post is not about a book; it is about a newspaper column I read on Saturday. Take a look.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Anne Perry

My friend from Toastmasters (Holiday Inn on Wednesday mornings) is reading a book by Anne Perry. I decided to check the internet to see what I could find out about this author since I had never read any of her novels.

What a life she has lived! She was convicted of murdering her best friend's mother at age 16. Her real name is Juliet Hulme, born 1938.


Friday, June 23, 2006

Two Templar Books

I found this interview, dated April this year, on interesting. Two writers were being interviewed about their bestselling books: THE LAST TEMPLAR and THE TEMPLAR LEGACY. The writers of course are Raymond Khoury and Steve Berry. READ MORE.

Some of us met Steve Berry through our bookclub or met him while he was at the public library in April.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Book Club selection for July

Linda wanted to know what else Christopher Paul Curtis had written besides Bud, Not Buddy, the book we selected for July.

Here is the answer. CLICK HERE.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Unusual History

Many young people don't like history because history for them means learning about some dead people and memorizing dates. I wonder what they'd think about these history books:

Ice Cream : The Delicious History
by Marilyn Powell

Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers and Bums in America
by Tom Lutz

The Bikini Book
by Kelly Kill Bensimon

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Pig Book

Well I highlighted books about man's best friend in other posts. It is only fair to highlight one woman's best friend, the pig.

READ the Extract for The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary life of Christopher Hogwood by Sy Montgomery.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Interesting new titles

Some interesting new titles were highlighted in the ARTS & BOOKS section of the Atlanta Journal Constitution yesterday. Check these out by clicking on the links:

Baby Proof
by Emily Giffin

Swapping Lives
by Jane Green

Talk Talk
by T.C. Boyle

There Will Never Be Another You : A Novel
by Carolyn See

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Oke Book Club Selections 2006

We had a visitor this month to the book club so I am posting our selections so far for 2006. You will notice I made in a change since the last posting.

January 20
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

February 17
All over but the shoutin’ by Rick Bragg

March 17
Zorro by Isabel Allende

April 21
Blind Obedience by Bill Boyd

May 26
The Thing About Jane Spring by Sharon Krum

June 16
Death of a Dreamer by M.C. Beaton.

July 21
Bud, not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

August 18
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

September 15
Reflections in the Nile by J. Suzanne Frank

Saturday, June 17, 2006

What are you reading?

Charlotte just finished reading How to be Lost by Amanda Eyre Ward and passed her copy to me. This is Ms. Ward's second book. I am on page 78 and can hardly put the book down. The setting is New Orleans, New York City and Montana. Reviewers are comparing it to Lovely Bones because this novel is also about a family that falls apart due to the loss of a child. In How to be Lost the family members don't know if the youngest child of the family was kidnapped and murdered or kidnapped and alive in some unknown place. Fifteen years later the family is still hurting and tormented by guilt.

Strong language used occasionally.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Father's Day: Book Selections

That picture has nothing to do with Father's Day unless your father likes birds. It's just a collection of books about birds on display at the college library. I thought it would make a pretty picture.

Anyway, remember Father's Day is coming up. USA TODAY has book suggestions for Dads who read. Read "Four Fine Father's Day Reads".

Also, we meet again tomorrow at 6:00PM to discuss Death of a Dreamer by M.C. Beaton.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Book Club Suggestion: Newberry Medal Winner 2000

Here is a book club suggestion from one of our members. It's a children's book that apparently covers some adult issues: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.

See excerpt on

We've discussed The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe so it is not unusual for us to read and enjoy this genre.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Scary books for 6-6-06

For those who like this genre see New York Times Book Review (June 4, 2006) for the Thinking Reader's Guide to Fear. Some of the books mentioned are:

Ghost Writer by John Harwood.

The Farm by Scott Nicholson

Headstone City by Tom Piccirilli

Monday, June 05, 2006

What are you reading now?

One club member is reading Reflections in the Nile by J. Suzanne Frank. I am reading The Power of Intention by Wayne Dyer.

Today I looked at page 44 of the New York Times Book Review, June 4, 2006 issue. At number one, under The New York Times Bestsellers for Advice, How-to and Miscellaneous, is Cesar's Way by dog behavior expert Cesar Millan. This was not a career option 10 years ago. Now somewhere some little boy or girl is saying, "I want to be a dog behavior expert like Cesar."

Just goes to show that we can find our passion and make a living from it.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Monday, May 29, 2006

Book Club Selections 2006

Here is a list of books that we have selected so far:

January 20
The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

February 17
All over but the shoutin’ by Rick Bragg

March 17
Zorro by Isabel Allende

April 21
Blind Obedience by Bill Boyd

May 26

The Thing About Jane Spring by Sharon Krum


Death of a Dreamer by M.C. Beaton. Read an Excerpt.


Untouchables: My Family's Triumphant Journey Out of the Caste System in Modern India by Narendra Jadhav A memoir in tribute to Jadhav's parents.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Book Club Selection for June

Murder mystery Death of a Dreamer by M. C. Beaton, set in Scotland and featuring Hamish Macbeth, will be our book for June. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth is a television series in England. READ MORE. This is a quick read, made me want to read more of her earlier books.

The Da Vinci Code discussion continues. Take a look at this article by Mr. Boyne in the Jamaica Gleaner. I found this part of the early church history interesting:

There were three primary groups batting [sic] for influence in the early centuries: the Ebionites, the Marcionites and the Gnostics. If either of them had won, the Christianity we know would be radically different. READ MORE.

Enjoy your reading this week. I just finished Mary Higgins Clark's Two Little Girls in Blue. I could not put it down.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Angels & Demons - The Movie

Well the movie DaVinci Code is already so successful that Sony is making a movie out of Dan Brown's earlier novel, Angels & Demons published in 2000. That should be an exciting movie but it will again stir up controversy among devout Roman Catholics.

And Lost Fans, I am sure you did not miss the constant reference to the 1865 story Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens. One of the characters in the story is upper class Lizzie Hexam a riverman's daughter and a lawyer. In Lost Elizabeth is the name of the boat owned by Libby (short for Elizabeth)and loaned or given to Desmond. Libby and Desmond just happen to turn up on the same mystery island? Is there a clue somewhere there? We'll have to wait until the next season.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Movie Review

If you have not seen the DaVinci Code there is a really accurate and good review from the Jamaica Gleaner's Tanya Batson-Savage.

Here is an interesting quote from the article: Many of the ideas expressed in The Da Vinci Code were once the stuff for which people were excommunicated from the Catholic Church (especially at the time in history when it was sinful to suggest that the sun did not revolve around the earth). So essentially, it plays with ideas that supposedly form the bedrock of Christian faith and then tries to shake them.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Another one of "those books"

Here is another book that will soon be talked about, The Expected One: a Novel by Kathleen McGowan. McGowan self published a thriller about a descendant of Mary Magdalene and Jesus then it was picked up this year by Touchstone Publishers, affiliated with Simon & Schuster. She got a seven-figure advance for this book. According to the book will be released July 26. Interestingly, I read online that last year at the Book Expo McGowan had to beg people to talk to her, this time she was signing autographs and met with a number of foreign publishers.
Dan Brown did not invent this genre of writing but I am sure he will be blamed or praised if McGowan's book becomes a hit.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Book Expo Buzz

Look out for these three titles in the fall; they created the most buzz in Washington D.C. over the weekend at the Book Expo:

For One More Day by Mitch Albom, release date: September 26.

Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier, release date: October 3.

The Innocent Man: A True Story by John Grisham, release date: October 10.

Senator Barack Obama will also have a new book out in the fall, The Audacity of Hope: Reclaiming the American Dream, release date: October.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

I saw the movie

There was no picket line at the 3:15PM matinee yesterday. I enjoyed the movie. From what I remember of the book, the movie was a very accurate portrayal and for that I can give it 4 stars. I thought the actors who played Silas and Leigh Teabing were exceptional.

I can understand why devout Roman Catholics and Opus Dei supporters would be offended that the antagonists are affiliated with the church but some Roman Catholic priests have done far more damage to the priesthood and to catholicism than this movie could possibly do. Somebody has to be the antagonist in a murder mystery; sometimes it's a lawyer, judge, teacher, I guess church people are not exempt.

It's fiction. Don't take the book or movie so personally, go out and be entertained.

Crossing the Da Vinci Picket Line

I may have to cross a picket line today. I read yesterday in the Waycross Journal Herald that a Christian group will be picketing the movie theater during the showing of The Da Vinci Code.

What is this fear that some Christians have over this movie? I am happy the book has generated dialogue about the church and christianity. However, if I did not know better after reading some of the comments, example one in the Nassau Guardian this morning, I would think Christianity was so weak it was under threat of collapsing because of one movie? I was actually inspired to respond by email to the article Decoding Dan Brown by Vannessa Rolle, the Lifestyles Editor at Nassau Guardian.

And is it my imagination or has The Da Vinci Code book and movie generated more response from Christians than Brokeback Mountain the play and movie version?

May 24
P.S. Heard from Vannessa Rolle and she says she did not write the article. Some error on the part of the webmaster.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Da Vinci code opens today at movie theaters

Go out and see the movie, be entertained. Things to remember when you go to see the movie:

1.The Da Vinci Code is a murder mystery.

2.The Da Vinci Code movie is based on a novel. It's fiction with some legends and historical facts thrown in the mix.

3. Mr. Da Vinci was not at the last supper with Christ and his disciples. His painting is not a photograph, it is what he imagined took place.

Some critics have not been particularly impressed by the movie and have rated it 2 stars. They are saying the book did not translate well into a movie. READ MORE.

Worldwide protests continue against the movie. I heard on the news yesterday that an Albino group has added its voice against the movie.

Others however, are trying to make money by jumping on the Da Vinci Code band wagon, or should I say, the Da Vinci Train. The Eurostar, the London to Paris train that opened in 1994, wants to take you to see the cities mentioned in the Da Vinci Code.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Anti Da Vinci or Pro Da Vinci?

The movie, The Da Vinci Code, opens this weekend and so the anti code protests have begun as far away as Greece as well as here in Waycross. There was an ad in the Waycross Journal Herald on Monday identifying food stores that refused to pull The Davinci Code from their book section and also commending Harvey's for complying with their request to remove the book. For crying out loud the book is fiction.

Anyway, take a look at some anti Da Vinci Code websites: Westminster Theological Seminary U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Focus on the Family Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights The Archdiocese of Denver.

Now enjoy the movie and be entertained!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Who is digging to America?

In the May 2006 issue of Southern Living, book reviewer Ms. Wanda Mckinney recommends Anne Tyler's bestselling novel,Digging to America. About the book.

List of Novels by Anne Tyler

If Morning Ever Comes (1964)
The Tin Can Tree (1965)
A Slipping-Down Life (1970)
The Clock Winder (1972)
Celestial Navigation (1974)
Searching for Caleb (1975)
Earthly Possessions (1977)
Morgan's Passing (1980)
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant (1982)
The Accidental Tourist (1985)
Breathing Lessons (1988)
Saint Maybe (1991)
Ladder of Years (1995)
A Patchwork Planet (1998)
Back When We Were Grownups (2001)
The Amateur Marriage (2003)
Digging to America (2006)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Bestselling Fiction

Take a look at the Wallstreet Journal's list of bestsellers:


1. "Beach Road" by James Patterson, Peter de Jonge (Little, Brown)

2. "Two Little Girls in Blue" by Mary Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster)

3. "Promise Me" by Harlan Coben (Dutton)

4. "Definitely Dead" by Charlaine Harris (Ace)

5. "Digging to America" by Anne Tyler (Knopf)

Compare with the PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Top five BEST-SELLERS. Definitely Dead did not make it in the top five for Publishers Weekly and I Say a Little Prayer was not on Wallstreet's top five.


1. "Beach Road" by James Patterson, Peter de Jonge (Little, Brown)

2. "Two Little Girls in Blue" by Mary Higgins Clark (Simon & Schuster)

3. "I Say a Little Prayer" by E. Lynn Harris (Doubleday)

4. "Promise Me" by Harlan Coben (Dutton)

5. "Digging to America" by Anne Tyler (Knopf)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Jacksonville's Book Festival

This year, Jacksonville's big book festival, Much Ado About Books, is May 13 from 9:00AM to 3:30PM at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront, downtown Jacksonville. Master storyteller and supporter of literacy programs, James Patterson, will give the keynote address. VISIT HERE to check the cost of lunch with James.

It is being promoted as a book-lover's celebration of reading, writing and life. Well known authors will participate in 29 panels over four time slots. Make sure to link to the author list.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Caste Discrimination

I am still reading Untouchables: one family’s triumph over the caste system in modern India by Narendra Jadhav.

Although discrimination based on caste is illegal in India, the struggle continues for those in the lower castes who want good jobs and education. READ MORE.

It just so happens something big is happening in India in regard to affirmative action. The debate and protests going on has to do with quotas versus scholarhips. READ MORE

Top Ten

Top Ten Bestsellers - Hardcover Fiction. Link To New York Times for the rest of the list.

This Week's List

1. TWO LITTLE GIRLS IN BLUE, by Mary Higgins Clark. (Simon & Schuster, $25.95.)
2. PROMISE ME, by Harlan Coben. (Dutton, $26.95.)
3. BLUE SHOES & HAPPINESS, by Alexander McCall Smith. (Pantheon, $21.95.)
4. DARK HARBOR, by Stuart Woods. (Putnam, $25.95.)
5. GONE, by Jonathan Kellerman. (Ballantine, $26.95.)
6. SUSANNAH'S GARDEN, by Debbie Macomber. (Mira, $23.95.)
7. OAKDALE CONFIDENTIAL, by Anonymous. (Pocket, $19.95.)
8. DARK TORT, by Diane Mott Davidson. (Morrow, $24.95.)
9. THE DA VINCI CODE, by Dan Brown. (Doubleday, $24.95.)
10. EVERYMAN, by Philip Roth. (Houghton Mifflin, $24.)

Friday, May 05, 2006

Madea Goes to Jail

Madea Goes to Jail written by, produced by, and starring Tyler Perry at the Times Union theater in Jacksonville last weekend was hilarious. Now Tyler Perry's book with the catchy title is number one on the New York Times Bestsellers list this week.


Top 5 at a Glance
2. MARLEY & ME, by John Grogan
3. THE WORLD IS FLAT, by Thomas L. Friedman
4. FREAKONOMICS, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
5. THE JESUS PAPERS, by Michael Baigent

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Most Borrowed Books in USA Libraries

The top 5 Fiction

Mary, Mary, James Patterson
Does he write a book a month?

Predator, Patrica Cornwell
We selected her Jack the Ripper book for the bookclub; I was not convinced that Walter Sickert was the Ripper.

S Is for Silence, Sue Grafton
At First Sight, Nicholas Sparks
The Camel Club, David Baldacci

Non Fiction

Leading the list are:

A Million Little Pieces, James Frey
Teacher Man, Frank McCourt
The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, Thomas L. Friedman
The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion

Natural Cures "They" Don't Want You to Know About, Kevin Trudeau
Some consumers are complaining that they were duped.
No wonder people prefer to borrow it from the library.

See the Library Journal online for the complete list

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Save Darfur

Long before Oprah's and George Clooney's interest in the Sudan, the okebookclub had selected the book Slave by Mende Nazer. This was a real eye opener to the modern day holocaust in Sudan. If you have not read it yet, I urge you to borrow or buy this book to appreciate one person's experience of living in Sudan. READ MORE.

Opal Mehta

So the publishers have permanently pulled all copies of Opal Mehta from the shelves. Apparently the book is beyond the revision stage. What an embarrassment for the writer! The contract has been cancelled so there will be no second book about Opal. The movie version has also been cancelled. Major embarrassment all around. What a mess! READ MORE.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"Opal Mehta", team work effort?

Well well well, the story of Opal Mehta is not going away anytime soon. Now I have been reading that Alloy Entertainment shares copyright of Opal Mehta with Kaavya Viswanathan. Who knew that it was normal to have ghostwriters collaborate with the writer to produce a novel? READ MORE.

In the meantime, Miss Kaavya is facing more plagiaism charges. According to the Boston Globe, Opal Mehta has some similarities in structure with "Can You Keep a Secret?" by Sophie Kinsella.

Check out the May 8 issue of People magazine for interesting information on Opus Dei. Yes, the members practice physical mortifications. The pictures of the tools for physical mortifications are in the magazine.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Opus Dei = The Work of God

As we get ready for the release of The DaVinci Code movie on May 19 starring Tom Hanks, more and more people will want to know more about Opus Dei. The body has updated its website. The members say they are not a sect or a cult, rather they are fully integrated into the Roman Catholic Church. Link here.

How did the group become so controversial? It was controversial before the publication of the novel, The DaVinci Code. Read More

A book about Opus Dei entitled, Opus Dei: The First Objective Look behind the Myths and Reality of The Most Controversial force in the Catholic Church by John L. Allen, a Vatican correspondent, has recently been published. It just may hit the best sellers list alongside DaVinci Code.

Friday, April 28, 2006

"Literary Identity Theft"

Didn't I tell you life was going to get complicated for Ms. Kaavya? They have pulled her book off the shelves for revision. READ MORE.

Here is my next prediction: Megan McCafferty's book Charmed Thirds, released two weeks ago, will be the next big thing on the bestsellers' list. Click here to read an interview with McCafferty and to download an excerpt of the book.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

2006 Book Club Selections

Oke Book Club members, these have been our selections for the year so far:

January 20
The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe by C. S. Lewis

February 17
All over but the shoutin’ by Rick Bragg

March 17
Zorro by Isabel Allende

April 21
Blind Obedienceby Bill Boyd


The Thing About Jane Spring by Sharon Krum

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The " Untouchables"

We need ideas for interesting non fiction books for our bookclub. I am reading a true story called Untouchables: My family's triumphant journey out of the caste system in modern India by Narendra Jadhav.

Did you know that every sixth human being in the world today is Indian? I can bet they have not even included those in the Caribbean who are of multiracial heritage: part Indian part Chinese, part Indian part Amerindian, part Indian part Black, etcetera etcetera.

Did you know that every sixth Indian is an "untouchable" also known as a Dallit? I am only on page 40 but so far this book is holding my interest. I believe I can recommend this one as a book club possibility. I am learning so much. A whole race of people imposed apartheid on themselves designating some of their own to a life of servitude then they turned to affirmative action to deal with the degrading, unfair and inhumane caste system.

I imagine that all those Indians who migrated to the Caribbean way back in the 19th century were Dallits attempting to find a new and more fulfilling life. This is about an "untouchable" family that stayed in India and excelled despite the 3,500 year old outrageous caste system.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

National Book Club Conference

Avid readers and bookclub members, here is something to look forward to this summer:

There will be a national book club conference at the Intercontinental Buckhead Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia from August 4 to 6.

This is your opportunity to meet Terry Mcmillan, E. Lynn Harris, Walter Mosely and other writers.

By the way, I checked my visitor stats and discovered I had about 48 first time visitors to this blog. I noticed most people linked to the blog as a result of their search for information on the alleged plagiarism charges linked to young Miss Kaavya. Thanks for linking to the blog y'all even if you did so in error. Leave your comments before you go.

What this tells me though is that this story about Opal Mehta is going to be discussed in the media for some time; thanks to the previous James Frey situation. People far and wide are interested.

Another book controversy

Remember my recent post about Lucky Kaavya? Life is about to get very complicated for young Miss Kaavya. According to this article in the Harvard Crimson, her book about Opal Mehta has sentences that are very very similar to sentences in books by Megan McCafferty, specifically, Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings. McCafferty was first alerted about the similarities by one of her readers.

Be sure to link to the Harvard Crimson article and judge for yourself how similar the sentences are.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Restricted Section

Check out this blog with book reviews called, The Restricted Section, by Flourish and Blotts.

We met at Holiday Inn as planned to discuss Blind Obedience and to support the Kiwanis Club of Waycross with their Friday Night Out event. We enjoyed fried chicken, pork chops and roast beef with all the southern style stuff: okras, cornbread stuffing, squash casserole, greens and apple cobbler. All proceeds from the event will go towards activities catering to children in the community.

We all agreed that Rawlins and Carter, the main characters in this true story Blind Obedience, were so filled with rage, spite, and hate towards each other that their relationship had to end with tragedy. In the book, Mr. Rawlins, a former Baptist preacher, moved his family away from the Carter family to Lowndes County. What did Mr. Carter, the former Methodist minister, do? He moved to the area as well, right next door to the Rawlins family. Mr. Rawlins failed to kill Mr. Carter so he got himself an alibi while he hired some men and got his three teenaged boys to attack the Carter household.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Book Club Meeting Today

Today we will change our venue to the Holiday Inn. Our discussion will focus on Blind Obedience, a real life story about the murder of some children in Valdosta, Ga. in 1905.

Next month we will discuss The Thing About Jane Spring by Sharon Krum. The paperback should be out now. Read the review Silly and implausible but totally engaging on amazon.

What books are we going to read and discuss for the next few months?

Should we try Steve Berry's new book for July? What about Teacher Man by Frank McCourt?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bestselling Book Watch

According to the free book review magazine, Book Page dated April 2006, these books are destined to be blockbusters:

Two Little Girls in Blue by Mary Higgins Clark. Release Date: April 4

Chasing Destiny by Eric Jerome Dickey. Release Date: April 11

Blue Shoes and Happiness by Alexander McCall Smith. Release Date: April 18.

I think we can also watch out for new novel The Debutante Divorcée reaching bestselling status judging from the comments in USA TODAY. This is the second book by Plum Sykes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Lucky Kaavya

Did you read about Kaavya Viswanathan, a Harvard student, who received a two-book contract from a major publisher while still in high school? Most first time writers get advances less than $10,000 but Viswanathan got a whopping $500,000.00 contract from Little, Brown and Company, part of the Time Warner group.

Apparently when Viswanathan was a senior, her college advisor found out that she was writing a novel. The advisor read it, recognised her potential, and sent the novel to her own agent at William Morris Agency.

The name of Viswanathan's first novel? How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life. READ MORE

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

We have read their books

Steve Berry has hit the big times. He has begun to get hate mail from some of his readers. Apparently there are some people who can't tell the difference between fact and fiction. Berry gave a very interesting presentation at the public library. About 30 to 40 persons turned up to the book signing and discussion.

Dan Brown, as I am sure we all expected, won his case. He was cleared of plagiarism in London's High Court. I had been wondering who was next in line to sue him over The Da Vinci Code. Lo and behold when I checked Google News today I saw yet another threat of a lawsuit.

Jodi Picoult has a new novel out called The Tenth Circle. It entered the USA Today's Best selling Books list at number 3 and the New York Times list at number 2. She usually writes about controversial family issues. Remember My Sister's Keeper? This latest novel examines teen sexuality.

Interesting fact: Picoult is pronounced PEA-co. Link to her interview on her site with New Hampshire Public Radio's Shay Zeller

Monday, April 03, 2006

Meet Steve Berry Today

Remember Steve Berry? He visited our book club meeeting after publishing his first novel, The Amber Room. Well, Steve Berry will be at the public library on Lee Avenue today at 6:30PM signing his books. He will speak at 7:00PM.

Come out and meet him today or renew acquaintance. Since The Amber Room, he has published The Romanov Prophecy, The Third Secret, and Templar Legacy.

The Templar Legacy debuted at number 4 on the New York Times Best Sellers list. The book has gone back to press 6 times since February.

See also post dated March 9 titled, Knights Templar.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Have you heard of the Blook?

Blook: a book based on a blog.

That was a new word for me. I found it in the March 25-26 Wall Street Journal. Ian Mount's article in the Journal was titled, A new genre - books based on blogs - gains ground.

Here are some bloggers who have transformed their blogs into blooks. Do we now call a blogger who has written a blook a blooker?

Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

Blog = What Could Happen?

Egg Bacon Chips and Beans: 50 Great Cafes and the Stuff that Makes Them Great by Russell Davies

Blog=Eggs Bacon Chips and Beans

All the President's Spin: George W. Bush, the Media, and the Truth by Ben Fritz.

Blog = Spinsanity

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Top Five Bestsellers

From the USA Today Snapshots, I saw the following on their top five best sellers list:

No Place Like Home by Mary Higgins Clark

Marley & Me by John Grogan (Marley is a dog; this is not about Bob Marley the reggae singer.)

American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips

Game of Shadows by Mark Fainaru-Wada, Lance Williams, investigative reporters of San Francisco Chronicle

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Did you know that...

If you don't have time to read a whole book about political matters, did you know that you can pay a subscription fee of $99.95/year and get highlights of dozens of books? I found this out in the March 25-26 issue of the Wall Street Journal. Eight to twelve page summaries of political books can be emailed to you by web based reader services such as Capitol Reader.